The HACCP process - all you need to know

What is the HACCP process? First of all, it is essential to note that no matter what food business you are in, HACCP ...

What is the HACCP process?

First of all, it is essential to note that no matter what food business you are in, HACCP certification, going through the HACCP process is highly recommended and mandatory, depending on your industry type and location. Not only does it build up your brand image and give your customers confidence in your health and safety procedures, but it helps to make sure that you don’t miss any potential hazards in your food business that you might without a specific process in place. Whether or not HACCP is a voluntary process relies on the type of food business you are running and your location. 

Although it may not be mandatory for you to have a fully certified HACCP certificate, it is compulsory for you to have a food safety management system in place based on the HACCP principles.

HACCP process steps

An overview of the HACCP Process

The HACCP process can seem daunting, but it is vital that you implement a HACCP process in order to keep your customers healthy. Below there are the different stages vital for going through the HACCP process, beginning with preparation and going through the 7 Principles of HACCP. We also have some additional tips and ideas to help you begin your HACCP process.


Preparation for your HACCP Process

Select and train your HACCP team

Depending on the size of your food business, you will need to select an appropriate amount of people for your HACCP team. You will need to train each team member on the systems and processes in place and ensure that they have the expertise and knowledge to identify and combat and control potential hazards.

Describe your products and processes

You should create a detailed description of all of your products and processes. This should begin with the raw materials your process begins with, through to your finished product intended for your customers.

Create a HACCP process flow chart

Your HACCP process flow chart, also known as your HACCP process flow diagram, is a visual representation of your process. The HACCP process flow chart should have steps representing each step in your particular process.

7 principles of HACCP

Following the 7 HACCP principles

When creating your HACCP process, it is vital that you follow the 7 HACCP principles.

Hazard analysis 

Conduct hazard analysis of biological, chemical, or physical food hazards. This is when you should identify which hazards could affect your process and at which stage they are likely to affect your HACCP process.

Determine critical control points 

Your critical control points (CCPs) determine when measures are necessary to prevent any hazards, including the chilling of your foods, testing your ingredients for levels of chemicals, etc.

Establishing critical limits 

These are the maximum and minimum values of different elements determining what is safe for your food (pH values, temperature, chemical levels). As soon as a critical limit is reached, corrective action will need to be taken immediately.

Monitoring your CCPs 

Determining how you will test your foods to prove they are safe for transportation, preparation, and sale. You should specify how, where, and when your monitoring should take place. For example, one common HACCP monitoring activity is checking the temperature, in which case you would mark down how you will use a food thermometer to perform this check.

Establishing corrective action

These are the steps you need to follow as soon as you have reached a critical limit.

Verification procedures

This is the verification of your HACCP plan other than monitoring. For example, establishing reviews at different stages of your operational process to ensure your HACCP plan is being followed.


Keeping documentation of your HACCP planning, monitoring, and results is essential. Make sure to keep a detailed review of your food safety practices, ensuring you have followed your HACCP plan.

HACCP process

How else can you prepare to implement your HACCP process?


As well as all of the predefined steps above, you may want some additional information or assistance to help you to create your HACCP process. Food safety consultants and specialists are a possibility but can work out particularly costly. There are a huge amount of training resources available on the internet for you to use. Depending on the training you need, you may find something for free or a reasonable price that covers all of the information you need.

Remember to shop around when looking for HACCP training online, as you may be able to find some specific to your industry type.

Use a digital solution

Digital solutions such as FoodDocs give you an easy-to-use HACCP planning option, especially if you are starting a food business and are unsure of how to set up your HACCP process. By adding in some information and your flowchart, FoodDocs uses its UI to create your HACCP plan in one hour, saving you time, money and helping you to create your HACCP plan and set up your entire HACCP process smoothly. Beyond that, you can use the FoodDocs app to create monitoring sheets and record any audits you perform there, as well as schedule your team training and set up notifications for any necessary tasks. 

Is the HACCP process mandatory for specific industry types?

This is extremely important to understand. Although HACCP is an internationally recognized system for preventing safety hazards in your food business and helping to keep your customers safe, whether or not having a HACCP plan for your specific industry is mandatory depends on your location.

For example, if your company is based in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) require mandatory HACCP programs for both juice and meat food businesses. In the United Kingdom, however, any food business is required to have a HACCP plan.

Wherever you are based, you should always consult your local regulatory authority in order to confirm whether you are required by law to implement a HACCP process. 

How to get HACCP certified

Gaining HACCP certification is an extremely effective way for you to prove to your customers that you take food safety seriously and that you care about their health. Once you have followed all of the steps in the HACCP process, and all of your documentation is in order, you can then apply to have your food business HACCP certified.

In order to get qualified, you will need to choose a registered auditor, and pay the fee to have them carry out the audit on your business. Although this can seem expensive, it is worth your while as HACCP certification can bring you more business, and will help to ensure you don’t have any costly food hazard fines. 

Learn more about how to get HACCP certified

Using FoodDocs during the HACCP process

FoodDocs is an excellent digital solution that can help you the whole way through the HACCP process. Using the Intelligent HACCP plan builder, FoodDocs can help you build a plan catered specifically to your needs in less than one hour. Using UI, it removes a huge amount of manual work involved when creating your plan.

With notifications set up, FoodDocs keeps you on top of all of your necessary food safety tasks, as well as allowing you to plan your team management to make sure all of your staff are up to date with all of their food safety training. You can also use FoodDocs to create digital audits, making sure that your food business is always compliant with your HACCP plan.

Learn more about the features FoodDocs offer, and how they can help you with your HACCP process.

Start creating HACCP  

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